A Geographic Theorization of Zongos in Urban Ghana: A Complex Systems Approach

  • Joseph Mensah1 University of Ghana
Keywords: Zongo, Migration, Urban Segregation, Complexity Theory, Ghana



While Zongos have become a permanent abode for many people, especially migrants in urban Ghana, the dynamics of these communities are quite poorly understood. This paper provides a geographic analysis of the formation of Zongos, drawing heavily on a complex systems approach to explore how various variables, including space, ethnicity, class, citizenship, migration and environmental processes intersect to form and sustain Zongos in Ghana. Essentially, the paper throws more light on the key factors that contribute to the spatial concentration of the urban poor in Zongos and concludes with the consequences of having the urban poor living in highly segregated and economically depressed neighbourhoods in Ghanaian cities. The paper argues that the formation of Zongos is not solely attributable to the fondness of migrants from northern Ghana to live among people of like background while in southern cities, but also because of the exclusionary machinations of the majority and their housing gatekeepers. 

Author Biography

Joseph Mensah1 , University of Ghana

Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University, Toronto. Canada